The Union health ministry said on Saturday that India administered record 2.05 million coronavirus vaccine doses a day earlier, taking the total number of shots given so far in the country to 28.2 million.
Experts, however, say that the vaccination drive needs to be ramped up quickly to break the chain of transmission of Covid-19 and to control the current surge of infections being reported from certain states. “Although it is heartening to see an increase in pace, it is sort of an under-accomplishment to go at this rate as India has the capacity to cover 7 to 10 million per day,” said Dr Giridhara R Babu, head, epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health.
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India began the Covid-19 vaccination drive, the world’s largest such exercise, on January 16. “India recorded a significant milestone in its countrywide Covid-19 vaccination drive… More than 20 lakh (20,53,537) vaccine doses were given on Day-56 of the vaccination drive (12th March, 2021) through 30,561 sessions. This is the highest single day vaccine administration so far,” said the Union health ministry.
Drugs Controller General of India VG Somani has currently approved two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – in the fight against Covid-19. Covaxin is co-developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian council of Medical’s research and the other vaccine is developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and is locally manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
First doses have been administered to 1,639,663 health care and frontline workers, and 413,874 health care and frontline workers have received the second dose of vaccines so far, according to government data.
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Since the vaccination was opened in the second phase on March 1, 7,291,716 people above 60 years of age and 1,254,468 between 45 and 59 years with specified comorbidities have been vaccinated in the country. Eight states constituted 74% of the 2,053,537 doses administered in last 24 hours, the Union health ministry said. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with at least 330,000 vaccine doses.
“Covering 10 million people a day will ensure that we will cover the entire vulnerable population within a month. This will prevent any sort of second wave in India. Given the proactive and strong leadership shown by India so far in tackling Covid-19, the ambitious goal to cover them within 30 days will take us ahead of the virus. This ambition is a necessity, not for any records,” Dr Babu said. India’s caseload stood at 202,022 on Saturday, according to government data. The current caseload is 1.78% of the total positive cases.